- Elsa Mishman
- BBC News
The Kremlin said that Russia would do everything it could to avoid paying compensation for the devastation in Ukraine.
The statement came after the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution stating that Russia must face the consequences of its actions, including the payment of compensation.
It is noteworthy that the decisions of the General Assembly have a symbolic value, and the Assembly does not have the means to ensure their implementation.
The Kremlin said it would work to prevent the West from seizing its funds and assets abroad in order to pay compensation.
The General Assembly resolution stated that Russia must “bear the human rights consequences of all its wrongful actions in the world, including paying compensation for injuries and damages resulting from what it has done.”
The resolution recommends that member states, in cooperation with Ukraine, prepare a record of evidence and demand compensation from Russia.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the decision, saying that “Russia’s payment of compensation has become an international legal reality.”
Ukraine’s delegate to the United Nations, Sergei Kitselskia, told the General Assembly that Russia has targeted everything in this war, from factories to residential buildings and hospitals.
In addition to the need for funds to rebuild infrastructure, he said, “the recovery will not be complete without realizing the essence of justice for the victims of the Russian war,” and added that “the time has come for Russia to be held accountable.”
Russia’s envoy to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, called the resolution “without legal value” and accused the West of trying to stoke the conflict.
And voted in favor of the resolution 94 out of 193 member states of the Assembly, and 14 countries, including Russia, China and Iran, voted against the resolution, while the rest of the countries abstained from voting.
In contrast, 143 countries voted in October in favor of condemning Russia’s annexation of parts of Ukraine.
There were precedents for countries to demand compensation after an armed conflict, the most famous of which was Germany’s demand to pay 269 billion German marks to the Allies after World War I, which is equivalent to 300 billion dollars today.
The aim of imposing this heavy price on Germany was to prevent it from becoming in a position to launch other wars for years to come, but the result was the opposite, as many historians say that stigmatizing Germany as the “guilty party” in the war contributed greatly to fueling the German anger that led to the outbreak of World War II.
Germany and some of the Axis powers were forced to pay reparations, with a special focus on rebuilding costs in Europe, not to punish Germany for its actions.